Restore Justice Applauds Illinois Legislature for Passing Historic Criminal Law Reforms

January 13, 2020 – Chicago, Il.

Restore Justice Illinois applauds the Illinois Legislature for sending historic criminal legal changes to Governor JB Pritzker’s desk. If signed into law, House Bill 3653, Senate Amendment 2, would amend Illinois’s felony-murder law, require police officers to wear body cameras, eliminate cash bail, end prison gerrymandering, and require the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) to provide information about deaths in custody, among other provisions.

The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus crafted the bill, which includes proposals that have been debated and made progress in previous sessions, many of which were moving through the process as separate bills before COVID-19 stalled the 101st General Assembly in March 2020. Thank you to Illinois Senate Criminal Law Committee Chairman Elgie Sims (D-Chicago), Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago), and Representative Justin Slaughter (D-Chicago) for continuing to hold hearings, listening to testimony, and negotiating with stakeholders while the session was paused due to the pandemic.

While the Legislature still has much work to do to roll back decades of ineffective and often inhumane policies and practices, the new law will address some of the most devastating, racially unjust practices that have plagued communities for decades.

Felony-murder reform is one of Restore Justice’s core issues. Read our testimony from last week’s Senate Executive Committee. Until this newly passed proposal becomes law, Illinois has one of the broadest felony murder-statutes in the country. Some states don’t have felony-murder laws. The majority of states that do have felony-murder laws only hold people accountable for deaths they or their co-defendants cause. HB3653, SA2 will move Illinois into that category. 

Last week, in Galesburg, prosecutors charged two 17-year-old boys with the death of their friend. The teenagers allegedly tried to break into a store, and the store owner shot and killed one of them. Charging the other boys with felony-murder (which is first-degree murder and carries a minimum sentence of 20 years) is a cruel overreach. The criminal law omnibus will prevent such charges. The legislation, when signed into law, will ensure someone is truly culpable for murder if they are to be given our state’s harshest possible punishment.

Governor JB Pritzker has expressed support for the elements of this bill. Please send him an email, call his office, or tweet at him and ask him to sign this bill. 

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Restore Justice, which comprises Restore Justice Foundation and Restore Justice Illinois, works to address issues faced by those serving life or de-facto life sentences, their families, and their communities. Founded in 2015 by a dedicated group of advocates that included the late former Congressman, Federal Judge, and White House Counsel Abner Mikva, Restore Justice trains and supports advocates, conducts research, nurtures partnerships, and develops policy solutions that will roll back ineffective “tough on crime” policies of the past, replacing them with compassionate, smart, and safe policies for the future.

15 Comments
  • Klevete Foster
    Posted at 18:46h, 16 January Reply

    I support the amending of the Felony Murder Law and would be pleased if you sign the bill.

  • Lorie Coleman
    Posted at 19:09h, 16 January Reply

    I support the amending of the felony murder law!

  • LaKesha Foster
    Posted at 19:41h, 16 January Reply

    Mr. Governor,

    Please sign the bill to restore justice here in Illinois.

  • Raymond Finnan
    Posted at 11:32h, 24 January Reply

    Please sign the bill amending the felony murder law Gov. Pritzker.
    Thank you and God bless.

  • linda fleming
    Posted at 19:18h, 01 February Reply

    Do you have a newsletter or a way of communicating directly with inmates to inform them about what is happening with legislation?

    • Alissa Rivera
      Posted at 22:25h, 02 February Reply

      Yes, we send a newsletter four times a year. We just sent one. If you email info@restorejusticeillinois.org with your loved one’s name, facility, and number (if possible), I will make sure they are on our list!

  • EDUARDO IZQUIERDO
    Posted at 02:30h, 03 February Reply

    I think you not supposed to keep people in prison for accountable murder. This not right.

  • Maryam Malone
    Posted at 17:11h, 16 February Reply

    I support the amending of the bill HB3653 and would be please if you could sign this bill and restore justice in Illinois. God bless you!

  • Marquis Williams
    Posted at 06:56h, 18 February Reply

    Can you sign this bill. And restore justice in Illinois let’s start 2021 on a good note. Thank you

  • Key Wright
    Posted at 15:38h, 18 February Reply

    Please sign the bill amending the felony murder law Gov. Pritzker.

  • Shamella Deacon
    Posted at 15:40h, 18 February Reply

    I support the amending of the bill HB3653. I see justice for many with this change. Please sign Governor Pritzker.

    V/r,
    RP Deacon

  • Crystal Stewart
    Posted at 15:40h, 18 February Reply

    Please sign the bill amending the felony murder law Gov. Pritzker.
    Thank you and God bless.

  • Latoya Davi
    Posted at 15:49h, 18 February Reply

    I support the amending of the bill HB3653 and would be please if you could sign this bill and restore justice in Illinois. God bless you!

  • Shahidah Malone
    Posted at 18:20h, 18 February Reply

    Please sign the bill to restore justice in Illinois.

  • Sebastian Mabins
    Posted at 18:35h, 23 February Reply

    Now that this has been signed by the governor what is the next step for individuals charged with felony murder? Will there charges be changed?

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